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0:00 Rye soccer standout Lyla Keenan never met her Uncle Matt, but his spirit runs through her every move.  Matt Stauffer, a star soccer player […]

Published February 8, 2024 5:11 PM
2 min read

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Rye soccer standout Lyla Keenan never met her Uncle Matt, but his spirit runs through her every move. 

Matt Stauffer, a star soccer player at Williams College, died of leukemia at the age of 23, 10 years before Lyla was born. In Matt’s honor, Lyla, a Rye High junior, is leading a campaign to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. As part of the Student Visionary Campaign, Lyla launched a seven-week campaign to support research for a cure and to help families going through treatment.

Lyla grew up listening to accounts of Matt’s prowess on the soccer field but focused most closely on the stories of his character. “Over the years, I have learned what a kind, supportive, and optimistic brother, friend, and teammate my uncle was. As I go through my life, I am inspired to live like Matt,” said Lyla. 

She kicked off the campaign with a fundraiser at Chipotle in Rye Brook on Jan. 27 and looks forward to hosting shopping events at local stores over the next few weeks. 

Lyla, a member of Rye High’s 2023 State Champion Soccer team, also plans to host a series of children’s sports clinics in early March.  She and her teammates will run a soccer clinic; her brother, Johnny Keenan, captain of the Iona Prep Basketball team, will host a basketball clinic, and RHS junior Kathleen Denvir and other friends on the Rye Varsity Lacrosse team plan to hold a lacrosse clinic. Lyla is grateful for the outpouring of support she has received from the Rye community and is deeply appreciative of the involvement and generous contributions of Matt’s close circle of friends and their families. 

Since their college days, Matt’s teammates have started careers and companies, gotten married, had children, and lived lives that are consistently molded and inspired by the memory of a young man who, as one friend put it, was always “the first one there to encourage, to advise, and to make a difference.” 

“Matt has been a guiding force in my life and with this campaign I am honored to continue his legacy of helping others,” said Lyla. “I hope to make him proud.”  

Lyla Keenan’s campaign continues at the following downtown Rye and Rye Ridge Shopping Center stores:

Havana Jeans:  Feb. 10, 2-5 

Mixology: Feb. 14, 3-7

Misfit Bazaar: Feb. 29, 10-5 (online with code LLSLylaKeenan)

Z Life: March 1, 11-5.

To learn more or donate directly, visit https://events.lls.org/ctwhv/svoywf24/lkeenan.

Image:

Rye High School junior Lyla Keenan

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